By Laura Snyder
Falling head over heels in love is exhilarating - and scary. But playing it too safe sucks all the romance (and fun) out of it.
If you think you've gone too far - if you're, say, jumping on couches on Oprah - on the hormone rollercoaster we call love, here's our advice.
Swept Up or Swept Away?
It's okay to feel a little caught up in the throes of passion. But you shouldn't ever feel completely out of control. How can you tell which is which? Take note of how you feel about asserting yourself. Do you speak up easily when, for example, your new beau tells you not to do that move you were planning? You shouldn't feel like you need to act a certain way, or do certain things, to avoid ruining the moment or the relationship.
Slow It Down
Kind of like the chain smoker who occasionally goes cold turkey, just to prove they're not hooked, you, too, can slow things down just to take stock of your feelings about your own addiction. No need to use the tired old cliché - "need to take things slow" - which sounds like you want to break up. Instead, just make plans to hang out with friends or focus on your job (two things you've probably been ignoring lately). A little distance will be good for both of you.
Control Your Impulses
Yeah, it is just so cute how you can't stop thinking about them. But that doesn't mean you really need to call for the tenth time today just to say so. You do not need to post a bulletin on MySpace (the modern equivalent of shouting it from the rooftops, perhaps?). You do not need to bore your friends with that adorable story about how you started singing the same song in the shower at the same time.
Stop Planning for the Future (a Little)
It's okay to have the wedding planned, the children all named, and the family vacations mapped out - provided it's all in your head. If the bond is genuine, those moments will come - for real - in time. But spending too much time dreaming about the future so soon usually indicates you're more into having any relationship than having this particular one. Besides, if you're not enjoying all those heady early dating moments, what good stories are you going to have to tell at the bridal parties?
Wait to Say 'I Love You'
And, it should also go without saying, wait for proposals atop the Eiffel Tower and baby announcements. Sometimes circumstance - a really romantic dinner, a night of super-hot sex - makes us want to say or do things a little on the premature side. Try to hold back until you're sure (really, really sure) of your feelings and that they're reciprocated.